Bri­an Brands, stu­dent of Sup­ply Chain Man­age­ment in Tilburg, dis­cov­ered AEGEE two years ago. After more than a year in the board of AEGEE-Tilburg, the 26-year old is ready to take a step fur­ther and to con­tribute to the devel­op­ment of locals from the Net­com per­spec­tive. Check below his inter­view! 

Eri­ka Bet­tin: Can you please intro­duce your­self, your life in and out AEGEE, your pas­sions?
Bran Brands: I am Bri­an, 26 years old and AEGEE mem­ber for two years. I am doing my mas­ters in Sup­ply Chain Man­age­ment at Tilburg Uni­ver­si­ty! In AEGEE I like to dis­cov­er as many cul­tures and cities as pos­si­ble. More­over, I think it is impor­tant to par­tic­i­pate in the more seri­ous parts of AEGEE as work­shops and train­ing events. Out­side of AEGEE, I love to play and watch foot­ball. More­over, I some­times do obsta­cle runs which are exhaust­ing, but very sat­is­fy­ing to fin­ish!

Why do you think that the Net­work Com­mis­sion is the right place for you?
I con­sid­er Net­work Com­mis­sion as a log­i­cal step in my devel­op­ment in AEGEE. In the past one year and a half, I have been a board mem­ber of AEGEE-Tilburg and with this expe­ri­ence I know our area very well. I am very famil­iar with the anten­na cri­te­ria as we have to ful­fill these as a local. Last­ly, I am very moti­vat­ed to con­tribute to AEGEE in Europe and the Net­work Com­mis­sion is a per­fect place to achieve much more than in the local board.

Many can­di­dates, espe­cial­ly those for Comité Directeur, men­tioned in their pro­gram that they want to bring the the­mat­ic part of the asso­ci­a­tion clos­er to the locals, but yet you didn’t men­tion in yours any­thing relat­ed to that. What are your plans to do push locals a bit to organ­ise local activ­i­ties relat­ed to the Action Agen­da and Strate­gic Plan?
First of all, I want to point out that it is nev­er good to push locals to organ­ise spe­cif­ic activ­i­ties. When I will be elect­ed as Net­work Com­mis­sion­er, I would pro­vide the infor­ma­tion of ACT and the Work­ing Groups to the locals as a sug­ges­tion for activ­i­ties and events. Dur­ing the con­tact with the locals in my area, it will def­i­nite­ly come to the table. My expe­ri­ences as board mem­ber are pos­i­tive when it comes to a col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Work­ing Groups. How­ev­er, it is the task of the Work­ing Groups to cre­ate rel­e­vant con­tent, that is inter­est­ing for locals to pro­vide to their mem­bers.

What do you think about the anten­na cri­te­ria pro­pos­al pro­posed by the CD?
I think it is good that there would be a change in the anten­na cri­te­ria, because it can save a lot of time for the local boards, AEGEE-Europe and the Net­work Com­mis­sion. But, in the pry­ta­ni­um we should real­ly dis­cuss what sec­tions are impor­tant and which sec­tions can be omit­ted. I believe that there are now some safe­ty mea­sures, like the finan­cial report and year­ly board elec­tions, that are cru­cial in the sta­bil­i­ty of the local. Remov­ing those cri­te­ria could cause secu­ri­ty and democ­ra­cy issues, for which AEGEE nor­mal­ly is fight­ing for to pre­vent.

On which project would you like to work on as a Net­work Com­mis­sion­er?
I would like to con­tin­ue the Inter­nal Edu­ca­tion project, as I think there is still so much room for improve­ment in the edu­ca­tion­al aspects of AEGEE. At the moment, there is not real­ly a data­base for ses­sions and the infor­ma­tion of the Work­ing Groups is scat­tered or lost after each replace­ment of a Work­ing Group. More­over, I think it is impor­tant to keep review­ing the work of the Net­work Com­mis­sion in the Net­com review project. The AEGEE net­work is chang­ing con­tin­u­ous­ly and it is cru­cial to fol­low the trends and to keep eval­u­at­ing and adapt­ing.

You said that you want to explore the pos­si­bil­i­ty of found­ing new locals. Con­sid­er­ing the actu­al Net­work dis­tri­b­u­tion, which area would you like to take?
I assume to be the respon­si­ble of the Dutch locals, as cur­rent­ly the only Dutch speak­ing Net­com can­di­date. This area will prob­a­bly be sup­ple­ment­ed with Bel­gian, Eng­lish, Ger­man locals or con­tacts. Depend­ing on the oth­er can­di­dates elect­ed, we have to work togeth­er to make a bal­anced Net­work dis­tri­b­u­tion. In any case, I am hap­py to work togeth­er with every local accord­ing to the needs of the Net­work.


Con­nect­ed to this, what can be a city with poten­tial in the area? Why? And, what would be your steps to found the local?
If we look at the Nether­lands, Rot­ter­dam has a high poten­tial to become an anten­na again, since they dis­ap­peared years ago. With more than 28,000 uni­ver­si­ty stu­dents, there should be enough room to organ­ise infor­ma­tion ses­sions about AEGEE and some typ­i­cal AEGEE events. Of course I can­not do this alone, but togeth­er with vol­un­teers from oth­er locals we can real­ly make peo­ple enthu­si­as­tic about AEGEE in that city. The road to becom­ing a Con­tact takes longer than a few days. There­fore, a line of sup­port and coop­er­a­tion should be main­tained.

You want to cre­ate a sort of one-on-one sup­port sys­tem between strong locals and weak­er ones. How would you assess if a local is strong or less strong and how would you pair them up? What will be your involve­ment in the project?
How strong a local is can be assessed by the num­ber of activ­i­ties it organ­is­es and the amount of peo­ple attend­ing. More­over, the amount of mem­bers and active mem­bers is a good indi­ca­tor of the strength. Pair­ing up can be based on the will­ing­ness of a local to help, the geo­graph­i­cal dis­tance and the gen­er­al match between the two locals. Some­times, this is already a nat­ur­al con­nec­tion. My involve­ment in the project would be the link between the locals and coach­ing them in their par­tic­u­lar needs.

What is the Mon­topin­to Tri­lan­da ini­tia­tive and what did you learn by attend­ing it?
The Mon­topin­to Tri­lan­da ini­tia­tive start­ed in Octo­ber in Aachen and is an assem­bly of locals in the bor­der regions of the Nether­lands, Bel­gium and Ger­many. The ini­tia­tive orig­i­nat­ed in the idea that we could learn from each oth­er in a bor­der­less Europe. Aachen for exam­ple is a very strong local, with a lot of excit­ing activ­i­ties. Every top­ic that you dis­cuss dur­ing these meet­ings gives a lot of extra knowl­edge on what works in oth­er locals and what are their best prac­tices.

You men­tioned that you want to attend an assem­bly of locals out­side your area. Ned­er­top is a spe­cif­ic tra­di­tion of Dutch Locals and it has very few cor­re­spon­dence with­in the Net­work. Do you already have an idea where you would like to go?
Yes, the Ned­er­top is a spe­cif­ic tra­di­tion of Dutch locals, but I believe that it should be an exam­ple for the rest of the Net­work. How­ev­er, not every local wants to trav­el across the coun­try. I do under­stand that. There­fore, an option is to vis­it an RTC for exam­ple. I don’t have a pref­er­ence for a region, because every region has some­thing spe­cial and inter­est­ing.

Writ­ten by Eri­ka Bet­tin, AEGEE-Verona

You can read Brian’s com­plete can­di­da­ture here.